During this time of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, it is always important to take some time to look at gratitude. Ironically, gratitude is not something that is often discussed or identified by individuals in active addiction, but it is almost always something shared by those that have found recovery.
Seeking or finding gratitude while dealing with addiction can be challenging. People in active addiction typically look at the negative, seeing themselves as victims of unfair circumstances or feeling that life isn’t fair. However, finding gratitude is a crucial aspect of the recovery process. Therefore, while sometime in active addiction may not be able to find gratitude during their current circumstances, it is almost a given that at some point, either in their early sobriety or somewhere longer during their journey of recovery, they will identify gratitude as being a key piece to their happiness and freedom from addiction. Gratitude can help shift a person’s perspective and provide important motivation for positive change.
Here are some ways to find gratitude in the midst of addiction:
- Acknowledge the problem: The first step to finding gratitude is to acknowledge the addiction and its negative impact on your life. This can be a difficult but necessary step in the recovery process.
- Seek professional help: Reach out to a therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, addiction treatment professional, sober friend, caring family member or support group for assistance in dealing with your addiction. Gratitude can arise from the love, support, and guidance you receive on your journey to recovery.
- Reflect on the past: Take time to reflect on the negative consequences of your addiction. Acknowledging the harm your addiction has caused to you and the people you care about can make you more grateful for the opportunity to make positive changes in your life.
- Focus on the present: While it’s essential to recognize the past and acknowledge the pain it may have caused; it is equally important to focus on the present. Find gratitude in the moments when you make healthy choices and take steps towards recovery.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness and mindful meditation can help you stay in the present and appreciate the small things in life. Being mindful of the present moment can cultivate a sense of gratitude for what you have.
- Create a gratitude journal: Start a daily or weekly journal where you write down things you’re grateful for, no matter how small or insignificant. This can help shift your focus away from negative thoughts and towards positive ones.
- Connect with a community: Surround yourself with people who support your recovery and provide a strong sense of community. This will help you feel loved, understood, and accepted. Feeling the support of others can create a sense of gratitude for the relationships in your life.
- Set achievable goals: Break your recovery journey into smaller, achievable goals. When you reach these milestones, celebrate the wins. You can find gratitude in your progress and growth.
- Volunteer or seek to help others: Getting outside oneself and seeking a life of constructive, unselfish behavior is one of the foundations of recovery. Giving back to the community or helping others in need can be a powerful way to cultivate gratitude. It reminds you of the positive impact you can have on others and how fortunate you are to be in a position to be helpful.
- Cultivate self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and recognize that recovery can be a challenging process. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer to a friend or family member in a similar situation.
- Practice self-care: Take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. When you prioritize self-care, you can find gratitude in the opportunity to heal and improve your life.
- Embrace a spiritual practice: For some, spirituality or religion can provide a source of gratitude and support. Engaging in spiritual practices or beliefs that resonate with you can be a part of your recovery journey.
Addiction can be a dark place, but individuals that are able to shift their perception and begin to find gratitude in areas of their life are often apt to begin to find hope for themselves and take the necessary steps towards recovery. For those in early sobriety or ongoing recovery, they can look back on their addiction not necessarily as a negative part of their past, but rather what actually became the beginning of a wonderful new life, free from the chains of addiction.
Remember that finding gratitude in the context of addiction may take time, and it is certainly not a linear process. There may be moments of doubt and struggle, but by incorporating these strategies into a recovery plan, you can gradually develop a sense of gratitude that will support long-term sustainable recovery. A sustainable recovery that means a future free of addiction that will make you healthier, happier, and enthusiastic for life.
If you or someone you know needs help with addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.